October 13, 2021 by Brooke Smith
A large part of a personal trainer’s job is making sure clients do their exercises safely. But personal trainers also need to protect themselves — using insurance.
Each year, there are roughly 460,000 reported fitness injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Some of those injuries could result from working with a personal trainer. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that employment for fitness trainers and instructors will grow 39% from 2020 to 2030.
According to Harley Schaffer, an executive sales professional with isure insurance inc., trainers should have two key coverages: general liability and professional liability.
“But it really depends on their status,” he said. “If the trainer is employed by a gym, for example, they wouldn’t need general liability. That’s covered by that gym.”
However, as an independent contractor, “the trainer should have both coverages to be able to properly protect [against] all exposures.”
If a trainer trains clients from their home, or if the trainer travels to a client’s home, general liability is key.
“What happens if [a trainer] is in somebody’s house and, as they’re setting up the weights, they accidentally fall and damage the flooring [and] that costs $10,000 to repair?” Schaffer said. “Professional liability wouldn’t cover that. Professional liability is about errors and omissions, where the trainer is providing a recommendation that ends up resulting in a bodily injury.”
But while trainers typically work with clients in person, gyms closed during the pandemic, forcing many trainers to work with clients virtually.
However, even trainers providing their services virtually still require professional liability coverage, because “they’re still making recommendations and providing that service as acting as a professional in demonstrating and explaining how to do exercises,” Schaffer said. “It’s still the duty of that trainer to be able to make sure the client is performing the exercise correctly. And, if they explain how to do it incorrectly and that results in a [client] injury, that trainer could be on the hook.”
The virtual space can also have additional exposures.
If a trainer has a website or web portal, they may want to consider cyber coverage, which protects them in case there’s a breach on the site and they’re unable to offer scheduled virtual training sessions, Schaffer said.
“Now you’re going to lose income for that period,” he said. “You can purchase cyber insurance for your loss of income in the case your system had been breached and you’re unable to operate.”
Feature image by iStock.com/CasarsaGuru